Below is a journey of mine that I’m not quite sure what to do with in terms of believing that God will provide. I struggle thinking that I definitely need to get the money from any pocket other than my own. However – I am also a teacher with minimal savings and a huge dream. This dream is to go to Oxford University and study a Certificate in Theological Studies (Apologetics Track) through Wycliffe Hall. I have come one step closer to this becoming a reality in that I have been accepted to read for this course at Oxford in October 2017.
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This is a very awkward, confused and anxious plea. I’m not too sure what to ask or how to ask and I have applied for countless scholarships which have sadly been declined (people do not want to give me money). I never wanted to get money through a way in which I was not responsible or working for it as it is my dream. Yet, I am prepared to fight for this dream.
God doesn’t speak to me like He did to Elijah – so I’m still waiting for that audible voice saying ‘Yes’. However – I do know that this desire has not died – although it has been dimmed by hopelessness a few times – it has steadfastly been there.
My aim is to cover as much as possible but at least my flights and or book costs would be a huge help and blessing. I am applying for a loan and am still seeking out smaller scholarships and funding to subsidize the cost. I am fully prepared to pay this back – I am fully prepared to earn this. I’m not sure what God is going to do – but I know that this is worth fighting for and I am choosing to trust that God can and will provide. This is me taking a step into making that happen (very unwillingly and fearfully) but it is a step in faith all the same.
Attached is the personal statement I wrote for Oxford which highlights aspects of the course and my reason for desiring it so dearly.
If all you have is prayer for me – it is much more than I could ask for. So I’m not sure how to do this and it’s a tension within myself – but if you have encouragement, prayer, or a small amount to help – I will greatly appreciate it.
In Charles Spurgeon’s “All of Grace”, he identifies that faith is comprised of three parts; first part – Knowledge, second part – Belief, third part – Trust. He emphasizes that knowledge must be the first part and that it is the most important aspect of faith, for it allows the other two aspects to flow from it. We have to know what it is we believe in order for us for to be able to believe it and to trust it. This contrasts a fairly popular way of thinking about Christianity i.e. blind faith. This concept is where knowledge is somewhat overlooked or rather skimmed through and belief and trust are seen as most important.
I had this faith once, I had a Christian cultural identity and Jesus was good and made sense. I found belonging and friends and safety. One day, when a friend of mine passed away at just twenty-seven years old – this blind faith cracked. The house that I’d built revealed itself to have been one that was built on sand. This didn’t just happen to me – I have seen the smokescreen evaporate around countless friends, family members, colleagues and fellow students. This concept of God failed, our knowledge of him proved to have been faulty; we had built Him up out of our own misconceptions and were ready to leave him at the altar we’d created. Jean Piaget describes the moment learning occurs as “disequilibrium”; meaning that in the moment of confusion or chaos – that is when real learning takes place. This disequilibrium; the spiralling out of blind faith into sheer doubt was a dark road. One that I feel is quite easily avoidable. The simple: “If you just believe” begs the question, “What do we believe?” My anguish and confusion has led me to seek Jesus out in truth, as He is. Knowledge is not just the moment we hear the gospel for the first time, it is deeply rooted in knowing and understanding the heart of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This knowledge is continuous, therefore our seeking is endless. My heart breaks for those who have to travel on my road. It bleeds for those whose blind faith is weak and hinders depth. In Husserl’s phenomenology the crux of this theory is that we inevitably see with subjectivity, we (the subject) will always see the object as it appears to us, not necessarily as it is. In as far as possible, I believe that who God is, is not just as He might appear to me – for he appears to each of us differently – He is truth. A truth I want to seek to see and know the depths of. A truth I want to understand better so that I might learn to communicate and share it better.
This truth – this is the reason why I want to enrol in this course. This truth which I have fought to find, is one I want to be able to help others seek. I don’t want to give it to them; rather I want to help equip them and there is no better way to do that than to first equip myself with this knowledge. This in combination with my hopes, dreams and desires has led me to have a burning passion to learn as much as I can about this God, so that my house may no longer be built on the sand, but rather on the rock itself.
With everything in me all that I actually know about myself is this: my heart burns at the sound of theological debate; it is brought to life by seeking and questioning and it aches with desire to know more so that it can love better. I would love the opportunity to allow this course to edify my heart and soul on a deeply and profoundly personal level in order for me to be able to communicate this truth better as I learn about it more.
Details for contributions and queries can be found under the contacts tab. A post on the breakdown of finances will be available soon.